Summer is in full swing and now is a great time to dine outdoors in scenic Southwest Michigan. Savor every delicious morsel overlooking Lake Michigan, the St. Joseph River, our quaint downtowns, vineyards or verdant fields. Whether you’re looking for a place to meet up for an early morning brunch, working lunch or a romantic dinner out with your loved one, find the Southwest Michigan’s best outdoor dining in these fresh-air venues.
Mason Jar Cafe
Dine al fresco in the Benton Harbor Arts District while enjoying breakfast and lunch. Mason Jar Cafe’s menu boasts as much organic and local fare as possible with all food made from scratch, and it shows. You can also try boozy lemonades and coffees, or indulge in a Bloody Mary on the front patio space.
Plank’s Tavern on the Water
Located inside the Inn at Harbor Shores, Plank’s Tavern offers an expansive patio overlooking the St. Joseph River. Enjoy delicious brunch, tavern fare or well-crafted entrees while watching boats come in and out of the harbor.
Cafe Fernwood is open daily for lunch. Munch on your cranberry chicken salad, apple spinach salad, cheesesteak and more while overlooking the Botanical Garden and Nature preserve on their deck. Then, hike afterward!
Ghost Isle Brewery
Relax on the covered patio overlooking 156 acres of wetlands while dining on classic pub fare like ribs and pretzels with beer cheese. Or try Ghost Isle’s refreshing chilled shrimp salad with couscous.
Head to Three Oaks to dine outdoors at Journeyman Distillery’s Staymaker restaurant. Choose from small plates, sandwiches, entrees and Detroit-style pizzas. Seating outside is self-serve.
This countryside dining destination was born out of Lehman’s Orchards and a desire to do more with the local harvest. The Farmhouse specializes in fruit and session beers, all while serving up sandwiches and pizza. Listen to the sounds of McCoy Creek while dining outside on the patio.
The Golf Club at Harbor Shores
After a round of golf at the spectacular Harbor Shores where Senior PGA champions play, enjoy classic favorites made with a local flare at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores.
North Pier Brewing Company
Sample their handcrafted beers and devour tasty tacos, poutine, sandwiches, quesadillas and more outside at North Pier Brewing Company. Toast to friendship on the charming patio complete with ivy-covered walls.
North Shore Inn
Devour a juicy burger on the patio right across the street at North Shore Inn. Run by the same family, you can wash down your meal with one of North Pier Brewing Co.’s craft cocktails! Give your burger some extra flare by adding pork, mac and cheese or beer cheese to the mix.
River Saint Joe
If you’re hoping for “farm fresh,” River St. Joe brings a whole new meaning to the phrase! The brewery was born out of Flatwater Farms, and the menu changes seasonally based on their harvest. Sit outside at tented picnic tables and enjoy farmhouse beers and food as fresh as it comes.
Round Barn Brewery & Public House
Locally inspired food, craft beer, wine, and spirits are on the menu. The Brewery & Public House menu boasts locally inspired food, craft beer, wine and spirits. From small-batch Think Taps to Round Barn specialties, your palate will never be disappointed. Add a side of friendly service and a vibrant atmosphere in Michigan countryside and you have a must-visit spot for anyone with an appetite for fun. Sit across the street in their beer garden for some fresh air while you snack on pretzels and beer cheese, mac and cheese, nachos, wings and more.
Silver Beach Pizza
The most famous pizza in our area, Silver Beach Pizza is a family-owned Italian restaurant located near the beach. This Amtrak depot turned pizzeria offers tall, frosty glasses of beer, a full bar and a unique view of passing trains and beautiful Lake Michigan. Try the classics like the Garlic Greek, the Palladium and the Undertow. Or mix it up with pizzas with bang bang shrimp, arugula and prosciutto and many more toppings! Enjoy a schooner while sitting within their covered patio spaces. The rooftop is for ages 21 and up. Both the upper and lower patios have garage doors to let in sunlight and fresh air.
Silver Harbor Brewing Company
Located a short walking distance from downtown St. Joseph, Silver Harbor offers outdoor dining on their patio where you can choose from delicious appetizers, handhelds, flatbread pizzas and greens. Or try their noon Friday to dusk Sunday Pleasant Street Plaza street dining experience that comes with lots of space and live music, too.
One of the hottest places to eat, drink and shop on Main Street in St. Joseph is The Market. This 9,000-square-foot building is a food lover’s paradise with The Cheese Lady, St. Joe Community Taproom, Infusco Coffee, The Tea Annex and Spice Merchant, Dad’s Farm & Café, Nola Roux, Wild Ginger Florist and Gifts and The Wine Shoppe. You won’t leave hungry or empty-handed. Shop around, then grab a bite and dine outside on the closed-off brick road.
Tapistry Brewing Company
Sample some of Tapistry Brewing’s handcrafted beers while enjoying time in their beautiful beer garden. Or try out their famous Mr. Orange beer overlooking charming downtown Bridgman. Their smokehouse restaurant piles your plate with great sandwiches.
This winery is what you make of it! Enjoy eating just-made spreads, salads, sandwiches and macaroni and cheese while overlooking the Vineyard 2121 at lunch. Or, sip on drinks outside, too! Ask about their boozy slushies, or order a flight. On the weekends, enjoy homemade pizzas and live music. Check their website for more details.
Bistro on the Boulevard
Dine al fresco on the patio overlooking Lake Michigan at the Boulevard Inn’s Bistro. Combine that with their award-winning wine list and their menu featuring local flavors, and your meal is guaranteed to be extraordinary.
Dine outside overlooking the St. Joseph River. Watch the boats come in and out of the harbor while enjoying their legendary onion rings and perch. You’ll find lots of other choices on their menu as well.
If you want simple, authentic food home-baked and fresh, Froelich’s restaurant is your go-to place for outdoor dining. Lunch offerings include small plates and salads as well as burgers, shrimp po’ boys and adult grilled cheese sandwiches. Dinner options range from ribeye steaks to crusted fried catfish. Save room for dessert, the OMG! Chocolate Cake and macarons are favorites.
Built inside an old state police post, Haymarket serves up wood-oven pizzas and cold brews in Bridgman. Enjoy dining on the patio with charming string lights and plenty of space to stretch out at picnic tables.
One of the newest foodie destinations on the Southwest Michigan scene, Houndstooth is also located in the Benton Harbor Arts District. For outdoor dining, you can drop by or make reservations for their urban-cool outdoor, covered patio. Their sibling-chef team creates refreshing New American small plates to share and big plates to enjoy on your own with your favorite beverages.
Iron Shoe Distillery
This small-batch distillery in Niles offers unique cocktails and decadent dining options. Try a burger with creamy cheese curds melted on top, a powerhouse quinoa salad, or make any burger an Impossible Burger. Dine outdoors on their roof, or on nice days, the garage doors open up and allow fresh air into the indoor dining area. Top off your meal with a boozy milkshake!
Mark III Grille & Bar
This has been a staple in Southwest Michigan for over 50 years, serving up juicy steaks and excellent Tex Mex. Dine on the patio and enjoy cold cocktails under the stars at the Mark.
Located in the heart of the Benton Harbor Arts District, this is a popular place to pair cold, “hand-forged” beers with their artisan, spent-grain pizzas. The Livery has expanded its outdoor Beer Garden to accommodate even more diners.
Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant
Enjoy Southwest Michigan’s wine heritage and dine on Tabor Hill’s expansive patio overlooking their estate vineyards. When Tabor Hill opened in 1972, it was the first Michigan winery license since prohibition – and this trailblazer continues to offer classic wines, upscale food and cozy dining experiences.
This Southwest Michigan classic has been dishing up delicious northern Italian cuisine since 1939. Nothing creates that Tuscany feeling like dining outdoors in Tosi’s beautiful garden.
Come back with an appetite!
Once you fill your stomach on this outing, come back for more! Lucky for you, many of these places serve more than just one meal each day. Call ahead to plan what time of day you will stop by, or plan to come back to experience another meal or happy hour at the same place!